SXSW 2012: Best, Worst, and the Rest of the Fest


Against all odds, Geoff and I survived SXSW and managed to actually get some work done as well!

Between fine dining (Geoff says this Jack in the Box place has the most authentic burger in the city!) and late night parties, we also saw a great number of movies and conducted an insane amount of interviews at SXSW.

Read on to see our SXSW 2012 exclusives, highlights, lowlights, and inbetweens.

Killer Joe is an outrageously disturbing film full of sex and violence mixed together in a juicy dark DARK comedy shell. Friedkin and Letts are very, very twisted men. Depending on your interests, you’ll either appreciate everything they two of them were able to translate into the film, or you’ll absolutely hate everything and wonder what happened to traditional films. But seriously, Killer Joe is like an exploitation film without feeling like one. [Read the Full Review]

I came into SXSW highly anticipating Safety Not Guaranteed and I didn’t leave the theater disappointed. Anchored by a very strong performance by Plaza that will hopefully be earmarked as her breakout role, Safety Not Guaranteed is able to find that perfect mix between comedy and heartfelt character relationships. [Read the Full Review]

If you’re familiar with Flixist, you’ll know that I tend to stray away from horror films. Simply put, they’re not my type of films. However, what Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard were able to accomplish with Cabin in the Woods just might have converted me, if only for the time being. The film was able to successfully and creatively twist and exploit the very characteristic tropes and cliches that make up the foundation of the horror genre, and portray them in a way that could potentially change the way horror films are made. That might be hyperbolic, but if Cabin in the Woods clicks with the right people, it could very well be the beginning of a new wave of horror films. [Read the Full Review]

The Comedy may be a challenging film, but it’s one of the few character studies that has a clear focus and entertaining hook that will keep you invested. Heidecker was the perfect actor for this project. When he looks past his surroundings, you believe him. Sometimes making a joke is all you can do in a bad situation. For Swanson, life in its entirety is a bad situation. [Read the Full Review]

As film-goers, we want to believe an interesting story. The more bizarre and true, the better. The Imposter is a tricky, manipulative film fully aware of audience expectations. It gives the audience exactly what it wants, while constantly shifting directions and tone. By its end, I couldn’t help but smile at how well all parties have been duped, including myself. [Read the Full Review]

Cabin in the Woods isn’t the movie you may expect it to be. It also doesn’t end up being the movie that the opening 15 minutes hints at. It’s rare that a movie continuously plays against expectations in this day and age, but writers Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard manage to pull this off through spirited, bold writing. Behind the deconstruction of horror tropes, the two touch upon truly heavy material that asks us to question the nature of our enjoyment of horror and the cost of ending human suffering. The film is also full of moments of genuine tension, horrific spectacle, and attempts at humor so twisted and bizarre that you can’t help but laugh. [Read the Full Review]

[Rec] 3: Genesis
Directors: Paco Plaza

While fans have groaned at [Rec] 3’s departure from being a purely found-footage film, they should really be griping about its director. Without Jaume Balagueró, who co-directed the previous films, [Rec] 3 director Paco Plaza is lost. Instead of creating another uncomfortably intimate horror film, he has created one of the most tonally confused, brashly directed horror films I’ve seen in some time. It’s a bloody mess but not exclusively in the way a horror fan might expect. [Read the Full Review]

Crazy Eyes
Director: Adam Sherman

The problem with Crazy Eyes is that it’s just too real. Because of this, it’s a bit uncomfortable to watch. The best way to describe it is that there isn’t any “movie magic” to save it; that is to say, there aren’t any normal movie thematics or elements that would influence the plot to heighten the protagonist’s likability. I’m not against realistic films at all, it’s just that the majority of them have enough of a separation between art and life. Crazy Eyes was ambitious in countering this, but the end result is just messy and bad. [Read the Full Review]

The Raid [91] *Editors’ Choice*
21 Jump Street [89] *Editors’ Choice*
V/H/S [86] *Editors’ Choice*
Sinister [81]Indie Game: The Movie [78]Girl Model [78]Compliance [75]Extracted [75]Shut Up and Play the Hits [70]Los Chidos [70]Casa de Mi Padre [68]John Dies at the End [65]Dollhouse [65]Intruders [58]God Bless America [57]frankie go boom [50]Bernie [47]

Video Interview: Intruders director Juan Fresnadillo
Interview: The Girls of Cabin in the Woods
Interview: Cabin in the Woods actor Jesse Williams
Interview: Cabin in the Woods‘ Jenkins and Whitford
Interview: Writer and director of Safety Not Guaranteed
Flixclusive Interview: Kirsten Sheridan (Dollhouse)
Interview: Matthew McConaughey and Richard Linklater
Interview: Jake M. Johnson and Karan Soni
Interview: Jack Black (Bernie)
Interview: Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass
Flixclusive Interview: Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (Los Chidos)
A photo collection… kind of
Flixist’s Ten Most Anticipated SXSW 2012 Films